Drug gang leader Petties sentenced to life

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The leader of a violent Memphis-based drug organization with ties to Mexico’s Beltran Leyva cartel has been sentenced to life in federal prison.

Craig Petties was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Samuel Mays.

Petties secretly pleaded guilty in December 2009 to racketeering, money laundering and ordering four murders of suspected government snitches and people who were threats to the organization. His plea was not disclosed until February 2011.

Petties built a multi-state drug ring that operated from 1995 to 2008. Cocaine and marijuana were shipped from Mexico to Memphis in semi-trucks, then distributed for sale throughout the South.

Petties fled to Mexico after his 2002 indictment. He was placed on the U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most-Wanted List before his capture in January 2008.